May 26, 2013

Bon Voyage!

Today is THE day!

It's time to leave and board the fabulous boat in just a few hours. We've been looking forward to this trip since January and the day is finally here.

Wish us fun, no Carnival Cruise line-like issues, and no seasickness!

May 24, 2013

But First - Field Day

Vacation has officially began, even though we aren't on the boat yet.  This morning I will enjoy a fabulous pedicure and then head to Boo's school to help with 3rd Grade Activity Day.  It's like field day that most schools have at the end of the school year but this one is specifically for the 3rd graders. It's a "graduation" present of sorts, since they move to a new school for 4th - 6th grades.

They even get a special t-shirt to commemorate the event. The kids love it and look forward to it all year.  I'm very very happy Boo isn't missing it.

They will enjoy a pizza lunch and then participate in 6 activities. The days ends with water ice and soft pretzels. So it's pretty much like heaven to 8 and 9 year olds!

He will be missing all-school field day next week. But that just grand chaos and I'm pretty sure he'd rather go to Bermuda.

May 23, 2013

Nail Polish Strips

So much planning and preparation goes into taking a vacation. So much anticipation! And then you get home and probably sink into a semi-depressed state because after all the planning and anticipation and now it's over. Now you have nothing to plan ... unless you start planning your next trip. Ha! With as much money as we're spending for this cruise, I'll be lucky to convince The Husband to go anywhere before 2015.

But hey, he doesn't have to go, does he?

Now it's time to think about nails and toes.

I used to get artificial tips put on my fingers a lot. But I gave it up about two years ago. I was tired of the habit and being a slave to the nail salon every two weeks. Throw in a few too many crappy refills at various nail salons and it wasn't hard to give up.  

However, manicures suck too. Your nails look great for 1 day and then the paint inevitably starts to chip. It never fails.  I found a nail polish (base) called Gelous which seems to help keep the nail color on longer but it's not perfect either.

So enter Sally Hansen.  I've been wanting to try the nail polish strips for awhile and now I have a reason - vacation!  And they make them in french mani? Score!

They were a bit of a pain to peel the backing off the strips.  You apply the white strip first and then a clear coat strip goes over top.  The best part about them is the no drying time. After I got them on, I did apply a coat of the Gelous polish hoping it would give them extra strength against chipping and peeling.

It's been two days - not one chip! So far, so good!

A glorious pedicure is on tap for tomorrow.

May 22, 2013

Doggie Daycare, Take 1

On Monday Gunner when to the doggie daycare place where he will be staying while we're gone.  It was in part to acclimate him to the place but also to test his temperament and make sure he can get along with other dogs.  I was a little concerned that it might be an issue, given his reaction to a few dogs in our neighborhood. To his defense, these neighborhood dogs are small and mean ... so he's just being mean back!

A vicious cycle, is it not?

When we arrived, I spoke to the owner for a few minutes updating them on current Gunner news.  They gave me an overview of their process and how they will introduce him to the other dogs. Then I handed them his lease and they attempted to walk off with him. Attempted. Gunner was like "No way Hosea - I want my Mommy!"  Given his resistance, they had me walk him out to the fenced area outside. Again they tried to take him from me and again, he resisted.

At this point, I was having flashbacks to when I used to drop my youngest off at daycare. I'm not joking. It was so eerily similar except Gunner can't cry, scream, and wrap his arms around my neck in a death grip.

I ended up having to enter the fenced in area with Gunner in order for him to calm down. And thankfully, he did.  He began sniffing and peeing all over the place.  He was very curious about the dogs that were lining up on the other side of the fence to sniff him out. A few minutes later, I snuck out.

I returned three hours later and he was very happy to see me. They had nothing but nice things to say about Gunner. They said he is a beautiful dog with a great disposition, even though he was very nervous. They called him a big mush! But they assured me it was a normal reaction for most newcomers.  I was just thrilled he didn't try to eat anyone because of the dogs he was with, he was definitely the biggest one there when I left.

When we got home, Gunner was exhausted. He drank a lot of water and passed out. He slept for almost three hours!  If that's what doggie daycare does to him, we may be going regularly from now on!

May 21, 2013

Scary Picture

My dining room is starting to look like a bomb went off in it. You'd never know we had a small party at our house on Saturday night and it was perfectly clean and neat!

I decided this would be the room to coordinate everything. It's no fun lugging heavy suitcases down the stairs.

On Sunday I made a sizable donation to Target. You're welcome, Target stockholders.

I've been doing laundry nonstop because of freak that I am, I can't have a bunch of dirty things laying around the house when we leave.  Coming home to a mess is no fun and I'll have enough laundry to do when we get back!

Can I get an amen? No? You don't clean your house top to bottom before you go away? It's just me? Figures! I'm beginning to think I should start my own house cleaning business. I'd be damn good at it.

May 17, 2013


So with the cruise right around the corner, I'm in full list-writing mode. It's really bad. I'm thinking about nothing but the trip. Work be damned.

To further my list-writing obsession, I've also spent some time with the google searching "cruise tips and tricks" to learn from the veterans. There are a lot of good ideas out there!

Here's what I have so far:

~ Ask for a printout of your bill the day before you disembark to correct any issues. This way you won't be stuck in a ferocious line of people at the courtesy desk and frustrated at the end of your cruise!

~ Bring a power strip and/or an extension cord. Most cabins (from what I read) only have one electrical outlet in them.

~ Bring sticky notes & a highlighter. Sticky notes to leave a note on the mirror for the cleaning staff and the highlighter to highlight the schedule of the day's activities you're interested in.

~ Reusable water bottles ... to have with you when you leave the boat. And of course, a little thing of dish soap so you can wash them out.

~ A small notebook to document the trip. I'm a scrapbooker so this will help me recall the details of our trip.

~ An assortment of medications, like Advil, Dramamine (just in case), Imodium ... lol!

~ Ziplock bags ... always good to have them

~ Drink mixes ... I thought of this one myself. The soda packages on board are EXPENSIVE. You'd have to drink gallons of it to make it worthwhile. Sure, we'll purchase the occasional soda and adult drink, but having the little single drink mixes will be a perfect solution. My kids like the ones made by Snapple and Propel.

~ Walkie Talkies ... this might be the smartest idea I came across!  Our cell phones won't work on board the boat so this might be the perfect solution to staying in touch! Because the boat is BIG.

The countdown is officially ON!

May 16, 2013

Garden Makeover

We are in the middle of a front garden makeover by yours truly and my husband. This has been an on-going project since we moved in to remove all the pavers and replace all of the shrubbery surrounding our house. Why remove the pavers you ask? Because the previous owners did not install them correctly and it looked horrible and plus, they were red pavers. Ugly! One year we did half of it and the next we did nothing except rip a few things out, add some flowers and mulch. The next year we had a french drain installed in the backyard along the fence to help with out water issue and last year we finally finished that landscaping.  But this year, I finally got sick of looking at the unfinished second half out front so it became my mission to get it done before the weather turns hot. No one wants to work in their garden when it's 95 degrees outside!

Plants and bushes are expensive. I'm clearly in the wrong business. I should be growing plants and selling them because the mark up on them has to be about a million percent. Yesterday we bought 4 butterfly bushes ($25 each) and 7 other ground cover-type plants and spent $195.  Crazy! These were bought a local nursery near our home, not at Home Depot or the like. I'm the one who has to do all the work to make sure the plant survives, so why are they so expensive?!

We still need a few more well-placed plants and some flowers to finish it off and need to order the mulch and stones for the side of the house. But after that, it's D-O-N-E. Finally. Almost five years later.

Yep. Five years.  I promise to share a picture soon!

May 15, 2013

Baked Potatoes in the Crock-Pot

When I was in 5th grade, a group of us got in trouble while on a school trip to see a play.  I still don't understand what we did was so horrible but apparently we were loud and ran across the grass instead of being quiet and orderly and walking on the sidewalk.  Because of this, we were required "I will practice self-control at all times" 500 times.  That was our punishment.  This happened on a Friday, I believe, and we had to finish it by Monday. But it was my birthday that weekend and this hung over me like a black cloud.  I wrote and wrote and wrote but to a 10-turning-11-year-old, that's a lot of writing.  Ever since then, I'd swear my birthday was cursed. Something bad or sad always seemed to happen around my birthday after that.  

I may now need to add other special days to that list.  Mother's Day sucked. And I think that's all I'm going to say about it for now. But did you know you can "bake" baked potatoes in a crock-pot?

You totally can.

I fit 17 baking potatoes into my crock-pot on Sunday. Each were cooked to perfection in 8 hours. 

Step 1:  Scrub the potatoes well; let them dry.
Step 2:  Using a paper towel, rub some olive around each potato, sprinkle with sea salt & wrap each potato in tin foil.
Step 3:  Place each potato in the crock pot, seam-side up.
Step 4: Cook for 8 hours on low.
Step 5:  Eat! 

I would do this again in a heartbeat. It worked really, really well. But next time I will rotate the potatoes half way through cooking to make sure the bottom potatoes don't overcook. 

May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Last weekend I found this cute tin at Target and I was mad that they only had one left! My penance for not shopping in Tarjaaay for a few weeks.  I even visited a second store to see if they had any left. No such luck so I'm keeping this one for myself!

Wishing all the awesome moms who do it all a fabulous Mother's Day Weekend!  May you be celebrated every day in some small way.

May 9, 2013

The Cone of Shame

As I mentioned earlier this week, we finally had the puppy neutered.  He was doing good with not bothering the area, but eventually we had to add the cone of shame to keep him from ripping the stitches out. He hates it, of course.

Could it get any bigger??  I may have to repaint the kitchen walls now with him continuously banging in to them!

Did you spot the unexpected benefit of the cone?

For some strange reason it made his lazy ear stand up!

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to leave it on him forever...

May 8, 2013

Find the Dog

On my drive home from work the other day, I took a different route because I had a quick stop to make. I was sitting at a traffic light when I turned to my left and saw this:

Do you see what I see?

Imagine the cartoon-like double-take my neck did when I looked back to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.

I'm  pretty sure that's a dog on the roof.

Yep, it sure is .... WHY?!?!  The window was clearly open (although you can't tell that by this picture.) Assuming that's the owner I also captured in the picture, why would he allow his dog to do this?!

May 7, 2013

Dumb Dumb Dumb

Some proof that I'm not the most intelligent person on the planet:

I know. Try to contain your excitement (or disdain.) I posted my feet onto the internet.  As you can see, wearing flip flops to a 3 hour lacrosse event on a beautiful sunny day is not a smart move. Sunscreen may have been a good idea but who thinks of sunscreen when it's 65 degrees outside?

Lesson learned.


May 6, 2013

Oh Happy Day

Guess what today is?

It's neuter Gunner day.

The husband FINALLY agreed it was time.  Which is perfect because now he can be a full participant in the doggie daycare place we chose for him to stay at while we are on the cruise.

This place is awesome. It's a brand new facility and it's beautiful. And nice. And huge!  Gunner will only be "caged" at night and during the day he will be free to roam either outside in one of their large fenced-in areas or in one of the inside rooms, depending on the weather. He'll be around other dogs his size, free to play with them and the doggie daycare workers all. day. long.

For a dog, it can't get much better than that!

Oh, and I can't pass up posting this gem:


May 2, 2013

May = Cruise!

It seems a crying shame that parts of the country are dealing with a snowstorm on the second of May. I know it's not unheard of for Minnesota and neighboring states, but it has to be completely annoying!  I feel slightly guilty for the beautiful weather we've been having lately but there isn't a thing I can do about it.

I laugh at the pictures of snow being posted on Facebook out of disbelief not mockery!

Our cruise embarking date is creeping ever so close. We are all starting to get really excited now. So much so that I downloaded a Bermuda Travel app and a Bermuda wallpaper app, both free, to my phone. I also did some research on Bermuda and some things we want to see and do while we're there.  So far, I've decided against booking any excursions through the cruise line for a few reasons.

1.  We will be docked there for 3 full days. I don't feel the need to plan out every minute of our time there.

2.  I'm having a hard time deciding which excursions to book. I have a feeling that once we get there and see what Bermuda has to offer, we might change our minds and/or want to do it all! The men I live with are often whiners, saying, "I don't want to do that" ahead of time but then we get to the place, and suddenly they decide they want to do it or would rather do "this" activity instead.

3.  It's still early enough in the cruising season that I don't believe Bermuda will be overrun with cruise ships and tourists. So I think there are enough options of things to do that if we decide we want to go on a boat sightseeing tour, we can just sign up when we get there.

Maybe I have all of this wrong, but you know what? I'd be fine with just exploring Bermuda on a scooter and visiting every beautiful beach on the island. And that would all be free (except for the scooter!)  Our boat itself is LOADED with things to do and we paid a pretty penny to be on it for a week.  I'm just not feeling the need to add countless excursions to the tab.

So let the thoughts of packing begin ... time to find the suitcases!